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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Brewery Lane c.1940

Source: Friends and Neighbours 1986 & Michael Purcell c2008

OSi Map of Brewery Lane
Artists impression of the entrance to Brewery Lane showing both types of houses that were in Bridewell Lane. (P. Murphy)

Image from Mick Purcell

Brewery Lane

The entrance to 'the Brewery', as it was known, was under the archway of Lizzie Hanlon's house in Bridewell Lane and is shown on sketch above. Brewery Lane comprises eighteen 2 bedroomed houses, nine on each side.

Outside these whitewashed houses, which had half-doors, was a granite stone, upon which the people sat to chat, or to play music and sing.

The lane was lit by a single light, which was outside Geoghegan's house, and along the centre of the lane ran a channel which operated out into the river Burrin. A ten foot wall blocked off the river at the end of Brewery Lane.

No. 1: Jack and Pol Trodden lived in the first house. Jack was a butcher with the long established Carlow firm - Olivers. Jack and Pol reared Tom, Molly, Maggie (Scully) and Winnie. Ned, Molly and Jim emigrated to America while Ned and Winnie went to England.

No. 2: Dick and Winnie Grant lived here. Dick worked for many years in the Sugar Factory and they had two sons, Sapper who married Cis Hayden from Graigue and Mick who worked for years in Barrow Milling.

No. 3: Paddy Maher who worked in Bergins Bar in Dublin Street was next. Two daughters and one son John. Maureen married Eddie Williamson from Bridewell Lane and Kitty married 'Busty' Kearns.

 No. 4: Mick Fitzgerald and Nan Timmons from Barrack Street with their family lived here. Mick, a famous basket weaver, could turn his hand to make any type of basket, chair, table or creel and was renowned throughout Carlow. Lil married Jackie Geoghegan from Bridewell Lane another of the O'Hanrahan 'greats'. Nan, Liz and Mayue three more daughters with Neddy married Poll Byrne.

No. 5: Next was William Geoghegan who married Bridget Hayden from Graiguecullen, they lived here with their 13 children. William was a pensioner from the army. He loved to fish and is credited with the catch of a 37 Ib. Pike, caught down at 'Moll Whelan's Hole' on the Barrow. Jim regularly sat outside the house playing his flute and his sessions with 'Decker' Dwyer were a joy to all who had the privilege to hear. May married to John O'Brien is the remaining child.

No. 6: Jim Tobin from Green Lane and Molly Farrell from Bridewell Lane were next. Jim worked in the Sugar Factory. Sadie is married to N. Lennon of Oak Park, Molly is married in Castledermot. Jim married in Enniscorthy. Paddy is living in St. Marys.

No. 7: Here we have Mary (Cis) Corcoran who married Charlie Russell. A sergeant in the British Army, Charlie unfortunately had both legs amputated after injuries sustained during the First World War. They had three children. Molly married Jim Mulhall and lives in St. Marys Park. Nan married Paddy Ledwidge from Little Barrack St. Charlie is married in England.

No. 8: Tom Carey from Bridewell Lane married Maureen Feeny, Castledermot. Tom served throughout Europe with the British Army. It was in Trieste in Italy that Tom heard the shout "Hey Tom Carey from Carlow" turned to see Jim Young of Potato Market who had just arrived with his regiment. Now lives in J.K.L Avenue. Their Children, Tom, Rickey married Martina Walsh, Caroline married Paddy Brennan. Patricia married Paddy Carr, Jean married Liam Nolan, Fiona, single, works in Braun, Michael, who spent some time in the Irish Army is married to Bernie Roycroft.

Tom Carey on duty in a P.O.W. Camp in Italy during World War 2.

No. 9: Living nearest to the River Burrin was 'Hallie' Tom Mulhall, married to Mag. Brien from Staplestown Road. Tom was known as 'Hallie' to distinguish him from 'Yellow' Tom. Mag's brother John O'Brien married May Geoghegan from No. 5. Their children Annie and Johnny are 'down under' in Australia, Tom is married in Graigue to Mary Dowling and Jim is also in Graigue married to M. Grant.

No. 10: Across the road was Kate and Dick Begley, Dick was retired from the British Army and came from Graigue. They had two sons, Jack, known as 'Scaldy', married Kitty Bressly from Muinebeag, Paddy 'Bellows' married Kitty Darcy from Tullow.

No. 11: Matty Hayden from Bridewell Lane married Bridget Meaney from The Lock, Graiguecullen. They had four children. Kitty married to Chris Townsend a custodian with the great O'Hanrahan teams. Michael, Florie married Mick O'Hara, Staplestown Road. John married Mary Kate Greney. Matty was also retired from the British Army.

There is a story told that when Matty was on shifts in the factory, John, who brought up his fathers lunch was no sooner there than Matty swopped his overalls for the lunch and went home, leaving John to finish the shift.

No. 12: Nellie and Tom Williamson were next and they had 5 children. Tom was another of the streets ex-British Army men. Their children are, Christy, married Chrissie Gorman; Kit married Cheetay Nolan; Nell married John Geoghegan and lived in J.K.L., Jenny married Jim Murray, Tom (Jun.) is in England.

No. 13: In this house lived John ('Rat') Corcoran and Mary (Pol) Ryan, Greenlane. John, an ex-British Army man, worked in the Sugar Factory. Their children, Nan married Leo Stevenson and lives in England, Mary married John Lancton from Athy, Ted is married and living in England.

No. 14: Living next was the great footballer who played with the famous O'Hannrahan  teams  of the 30's, Johnny  'Cheetah’ Nolan, noted for his speed and dashing runs down the field.

'Cheetah' and Kitty (Williamson) had children Lil and Nell who were twins, Francis and Johnny, who are all in England.

No. 15: Was the home of Michael Kehoe and Moll Shaw. Their children: Ned lives in St. Marys Park, Michael, May married Frank Power, custodian to the Eire Og teams of the 60's and lives in St. Patricks Avenue; Paddy lives with his aunt Nan Shaw, Tom married Margaret Shortall and lives in Hanover, Jim is married to M. Coffey and lives in J.K.L. Avenue.

Valentine Message
Composed in 1981 by Nan Shaw at 80 years.
To the Senior Citizens
To all the senior citizens I send this Valentine
I am not good at poetry and can't get my words to rhyme
But if I'd go back in my memory when life was one springtime
Remember the country roads, the lovely lanes, the green fields all wet with dew,
The lilac trees, the sweet woodbine and the hawthorn blossom too.
The lovely banks of primroses, blue bells and violets blue
But alas they are no more those sweet memories we knew
The poor children of today won't have memories such as these
They've nothing but motor highways and roads of monstrosities
The wars, the fears, the parting all wrapped in between
Forget about the grey days or what might have been
And when you're sitting by yourself and you think you are all alone
Remember God is there beside you, to take you safely home
And when the trees have shed their leaves as we did of past yore
Scatter them with glee
So now my dears O Valentines
To you with love from me.

No. 16: Decker Dwyer the great concertina player lived here. He worked in the Mills and came from Graigue. His sisters Winnie worked in the Boot Factory, Lizzy married N. Farrell and moved to Dublin, Poll married Jack Trodden and lived in the first house in Brewery Lane.

No. 17: 'Itchy' Steven Murphy, a baker by trade in Don McDonnels whose son 'Mousy' Joe had a fantastic ability to stay submerged under the water, sometimes for five minutes or more and worked in McNallys Chemist in Dublin St.

No. 18: Gee Gaw Nolan, whose wife was a fortune teller, had a continuous stream of callers looking to know what the future held, had Katie, who married Dick Begley from the Brewery, Bridy, and Jimmy married Poll Whelan from The Numbers.

In front of the Altar 1932 — Brewery Lane
LH SIDE: Flory Hayden, Nan Fitzgerald, Mrs. Hayden, Moll Kehoe with baby Mamie, Mickey Kehoe with baby Neddy. 3 children not identified.
RH SIDE: Mrs. Mary Hogan, Mrs. Carey, Molly and Paddy Tobin. 4 children not identified.
Photo courtesy of Mrs. Power.

Memories of the past

With the posting of the streets of Carlow and who was living there, my mother-in-law, Lil (Elizabeth) Nolan Wells found her old home on No. 14 Brewery Lane, and has started to remember some of the stuff she used to do when she was growing up. The picture of the kids of Bridewell Lane has many of her relatives (Geoghegan's and Williamson's).

She remembers, walking barefoot along the stone walls near the river  Walking home from school with her friends they would dance on the corners. She said that everyone on the lane played music. They would have a grand old time singing, playing, and dancing. There was only one radio on the lane and people would bring their chairs and set them up outside near the door so that they could listen. Her mum during the time before Christmas would go to Frank Slater's to pluck chickens and turkeys to get some spending money for the holiday. She was a sickly child and would get sent to her relatives (the Nolan's) in the country to recover.

Gina Wells

Source: Friends and Neighbours by James O'Brien 1986 & Michael Purcell c2008

While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the details in this booklet, the publishers cannot guarantee that they are correct in every respect. Any errors or omissions are inadvertent and we trust that readers will appreciate the efforts of all concerned in compiling and publishing this history. 

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